"Soderbergh's Che is quietly revolutionary: Two-part epic about the rise and fall of Guevara avoids the obvious"


Here's the headline from MSNBC's review of Steven Soderbergh's four-hour, two-part biopic about everybody's favorite revolutionary murderer. The film, which is being released for a week-long run in New York and Los Angeles so it can be considered for various awards, comprises two parts, The Argentine and Guerrilla:

Soderbergh's 'Che' is quietly revolutionary: Two-part epic about the rise and fall of Guevara avoids the obvious

…"Guerrilla" is somewhat harder to watch, since we know that, unlike "The Argentine," things aren't going to end well for Guevara. His jungle travails are similar to his Cuban experiences, but we see how the U.S.-backed Bolivian government did a better job than Batista at keeping the peasant population from supporting the guerrillas.

Whole review here.

Yeah, I'm betting it avoids the obvious about Che. I in no way am interested in assessing art, music, film, video, cartoons, whatever simply through the lens of politics and ideology. I find certain works (Journey to the End of Night, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Manhattan Transfer, Sister Carrie, the movie version of Papillon [written by the execrable Dalton Trumbo], everything by Dashiell Hammett, most of Balzac, the list is nearly endless) captivating and impressive despite their politics or those of their authors. I don't even care about "aesthetics," if by that term you mean a preconceived notion of beauty, symmetry, blah blah blah. A creative work can move its audience for an infinite number of reasons and that effect, however inane or offensive the thought behind it, should always be acknowledged. 

But I wince at the coming reaction to Che partly because I'm sure it's a well-wrought urn and hence will be praised as a "serious" movie because of its politics rather than director Soderbergh's craft. He's a good director (who doesn't like The Limey even as we say enough already with the goddamn Ocean's franchise [any of which is more watchable than the dreadful Rat Pack original]?). Every retard in Hollywood is now going to start thinking about doing "serious" political movies now and most of them will be as profound and insightful as, say, Bulworth or Dave.

In any case, as we brace for the coming Hooray for Che wave, keep in mind three reason pieces that went live yesterday:

Dumb Man Talking: Sean Penn stumps for Cuban communism, by Michael C. Moynihan, which highlights the plight of Cuban punk band Porno Para Ricardo and the vapidity of Sean Penn and the Castro-loving useful idiots at The Nation. (Say what you will about America's censorious streak, but Chuck Berry was prosecuted for criminal acts, not inventing the Duck Walk.)

But If You Go Carrying Pictures of Chairman Mao, by Matt Welch, which recalls a clandestine meeting in Cuba in the 1990s (!) where students secretly listened to the Beatles. None of the students, writes Welch, "could understand what kind of evil, micro-managing jerkoff would criminalize "She Loves You" … well, except for the American woman who was nice enough to bring me there."

And watch Killer Chic: Hollywood's sick love affair with Che Guevara, which hopefully brings some balance to the gauzy, kiss-kiss portraits of the Butcher of La Cabana, the infamous Cuban prison: